This post discusses the series of Conversion Conference Sessions I attended.
Small Sites, Big Profits: Ecommerce Optimization Strategies for SMB Retailers
Alex Harris, Creative Director of AlexDesigns.com
As an interactive creative director leading a team of web designers, I have been creating and testing landing pages for ecommerce web sites since 2004. Bryan Eisenberg once called me “one of our secret weapons” in helping increase clients’ conversion rates. Having produced more than a hundred ecommerce stores, I have thorough knowledge of what it takes to increase online sales, generate more leads, and make more money online. In 2014 I published “Boost E-commerce Sales and Make More Money: Three Hundred Tips to Increase Conversion Rates and Generate Leads.”
During the recently concluded Conversion Conference, I gave a presentation discussing ecommerce optimization strategies for SMB retailers, or what I like to call the 5-step Marketing Optimization System. These are tried and tested strategies that have worked for me in all the years I have been creating landing pages and ecommerce web sites.
Here are some tips:
1 – Quantitative Data
This involves going into the analytics of your site to get quantitative insight, as well as understanding exactly what’s going on in Google Analytics. Doing so requires creating custom dashboards to find out who’s visiting your site, how they’re getting there, what the source of their traffic, and the top products driving the most revenue. This knowledge helps determine yoru future optimization efforts. You need to focus on your top traffic pages so you can easily see the opportunities for improvement.
2 – Qualitative Insight
Getting qualitative insight simply means understanding the psychology, what’s going on in the mind of the customer. To do this, we need to use heat maps in order to see exactly what they are clicking on and understand their mindset while they are on our website. We also need to understand their voice and use that language to target the market, engage them, and be the solution they seek. This also means using surveys and user testing to really get an clearer idea of what goes on in their minds, what they want, what they are looking for, so we can address them.
3 – Hypothesis
The hypothesis is simply a fancy name for an educated guess that we’re going to validate in order to understand specific problems that people have to serve as a groundwork for our solution for them. This also helps you prioritize which tests you’re going to run, which is really the key to your strategy.
4 – Top Traffic Pages
This is when you actually start optimizing. Your analytics will show that one particular page is driving the majority of traffic to your site. This is where you start to analyze the page from a design perspective, using what we call the conversion trinity – understanding the relevane, value, and call to action. Is it relevant to my wants, needs, and desires? Is there enough value for me? Tell me exactly what to do next – what’s my call to action?
Focus on your largest revenue potential area, make as many quick win improvements as you possibly can. Once you know what’s working, you can scale it to all the other product and category pages – this is how you scale and grow your bottom line.
5 – Landing Pages
This is where the traffic lands, starting at the top of the funnel. This is the page that brings people in to impress them, to get them to click, and turn those browsers into buyers. It’s all about figuring out where they drop off and how to persuade them to convert. Once we know what’s winning, we apply it to other areas of the site. We continuously try to test and try to beat our control, taking the new variation and making it our new control, while trying to continuously beat it.
6 – Unique Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition, or UVP, is what sets you apart from your competition. This means being able to answer the questions people have in their minds through your copy, so you don’t want to make assumptions about what you think it should be. This means asking your audience, and because you cannot ask them outright, you need to understand your ideal customer, then use User Testing. User Testing allows you to watch them go through your site, your competitor’s site, and different Google search queries. You want to talk in the same language they use when they talk. Use those clear and direct headlines and make sure that you use message match. Provie a value and watch them what to do with the call to action.
7 – Shopping Cart
The goal is to reduce shopping cart abandonment. This means you shouldn’t make your buttons monochromatic – your main button, or checkout button, should stand out. It also means telling more people about you, making them more comfortable about purchasing from you, telling them about your return policy, money back guarantee, shipping rate and speed, your business tenure – these all matter. You can also consider investing on a Better Business Bureaus logo. Provide specific instructions and make it easy for your customers to talk to you.
8 – Header and Footer
The tips for optimizing your header and footer are very similar to those that apply to yor shopping cart. Adding the security icons and seals across the whole website will make people more comfortable about ordering from it. It also means giving your visitors a great lead magnet because they don’t want to subcribe or sign up for email – they want to get something of value.
9 – Lead Generation
Although your main goal is revenue, building your email list should also be a priority, as it gears your company for long term success. One of the most popular and effective ways to do this is via the 2-Step Opt-in, which involves having the thanking page sell the product. Visitors then arrive on a category page, and because they are not interested in buying that product right away, they click the opt in, enter their email addresses and on the thank you page, they download the freebie you are providing them – a free recipe guide maybe, or some articles or an ebook. Then you resell the product they came for. You never break that funnel, because you don’t want to dump people on thank you pages that have no benefit to them.
10 – Homepage
As you can see, we’ve gone reverse, starting with the highest traffic page, and finally focusing on your homepage. Examine your homepage and identify the areas for improvement – navigation, safety seals, phone nymbers and overall how user friendly it is and visually appealing it is. You don’t want it too cluttered, or too sparse. Your homepage should be focused on getting more clicks, and reducing bounce rate. It should tell your story, at a glance, and get your visitors hooked enough to go through the other pages on your website, eventually culminating on a purchase.
Take my word for it – you should NOT miss out on the next event. It’s the least expensive it will ever be. It is definitely worth the trip to Vegas. The rooms and airfare were actually super cheap too. Grab your tickets for MAY 3-5, 2016 @ THE RIO IN LAS VEGAS at
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Written by Alex Harris. Foreword by Bryan Eisenberg.
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